Filmmaking

Episode 010 - IT: Chapter Two & The 33 w/ Checco Varese

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Checco Varese, ASC lensed It: Chapter Two for director Andy Muschietti, the highly anticipated sequel to 2017’s box office success, hitting theaters September 6, 2019. For Muschietti, who stepped back into the director’s role, tapping veteran cinematographer Checco Varese to shoot the sequel was a natural choice.

 “Checco and I go back a long time. We made commercials together a decade ago in Spain, as well as a little short film, and a pilot, too. Our communication has always been great, not only because of the shorthand coming from our cultural background and language, (I was born and raised in Argentina, while he is Peruvian but lived in Buenos Aires for years) but also because we speak a similar visual language. Just a few words were enough to express my vision of this film to him, and immediately an effervescent creative dialogue began. For a cinematographer, working with a director who is very visual can be a blessing or a curse. That’s why Checco is such a trooper. His patience is monumental, and his support unconditional,” compliments the director.

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Previously, Checco shot several episodes of the first season of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan for Amazon with John Krasinski starring in the titular role; the pilot for Fox’s legal drama Proven Innocent; and director Jeffrey Nachmanoff’s sci-fi thriller, Replicas, featuring Keanu Reeves and Thomas Middleditch. Working with his longtime collaborator,director Patricia Riggen, Varese lensed Miracles From Heaven, as well as Riggen’s The 33, based on the extraordinary real-life story of 33 miners trapped in a Chilean mine.His other feature credits include Riggen’s Girl in Progress, and second unit on Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim. Thanks to his prolific body of work, Varese has established a reputation as the unofficial‘pilot guy.’ He has lensed nearly two dozen season starters which, more often than not, go on to be picked up to series: FX’s The Strain; A&E’s The Returned; ABC Family’s The Fosters; Melrose Place for the CW; and The Defenders for CBS. And who can forget the True Blood pilot? This iconic series went on for seven seasons

Checco and Director Patricia Riggen on the set of The 33

Checco and Director Patricia Riggen on the set of The 33

In the mid-90s, Varese established himself as a leading director of photography,shooting hundreds of music videos, including Dave Matthew's Band's "Crash" and Prince's "Black Sweat," for which he was nominated for Best Cinematography at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards. Born in Peru, Varese began his career in the mid-1980's, spending nearly a decade shooting news coverage and documentaries in major zones of conflict: Latin America(Chiapas Uprising, Salvador and Nicaragua Wars, Panama Invasion, Colombia Drug War, Shining Path, Chile's Military Junta); The Caribbean (Haiti Crisis); Europe (Bosnia Crisis, Chechnya Crisis); the Middle East (Gulf War, West Bank and Gaza Strip Crisis)and Africa (South African Riots and the Rwanda Crisis). Varese speaks six languages, lives in Los Angeles and is represented by DDA.

Episode 001 - Rodney Taylor

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Rodney Taylor, ASC is currently lensing Fox’s Shots Fired with director/executive producer Gina Prince Bythewood and executive producer Brian Grazer.

Taylor’s television credits also include: season two of HBO’s Ballers starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, which premieres July 17; season two and three of Getting On, the HBO medical comedy based on the British series of the same name; and season two of FX’s Married starring Judy Greer and Nat Faxon.

In 2014, Taylor lensed Supremacy with director Deon Taylor, a drama starring Danny Glover, Joe Anderson and Anson Mount about a paroled white supremacist and his girlfriend who take an African American family hostage. He also lensed Holbrook/Twain: An American Odyssey, a documentary starring Hal Holbrook, Emile Hirsh, Sean Penn and Martin Sheen. Both films premiered at the 2014Los Angeles Film Festival.

Other features Taylor shot include: Michael Kristoff’s Live at the Foxes Den, starring Jackson Rathbone; That Evening Sun, starring Mia Wasikowska and Hal Holbrook; Save Me, which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival; the powerful film Swimmers, which received acclaim as an official selection of the 2005 Sundance Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Prize for Best New American Film at the Seattle Film Festival; and Grind, where Taylor was chosen for the International Cinematographers Guild Film Showcase in 1999 for his work on the 35mm short film.

Taylor is known for his IMAX cinematography, with films including: Wired to Win, a film about the Tour de France; the Academy Award nominated Alaska: Spirit of the Wild; and Ride Around the World, an international cowboy film. In 2003 Taylor received the Kodak Vision Award for his excellence and versatility in the IMAX format.

He has photographed extensively in Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, Japan, Alaska, Australia, Argentina, Chile, Russia, Taiwan and France, as well as in a plethora of state-side locations from New York City to Knoxville, Tennessee.

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